This weekend there’s a pretty neat event happening in Kingston. I urge you to go check it out if you are in the area. It’s the 23rd annual Sheep Dog Trials held this Friday to Sunday at Grass Creek Park (2991 Hwy 2) about 16km outside of Kingston. If transportation is a challenge, there are free shuttle busses from downtown Kingston (check the city website). Admission is $10 a day, kids 10 and under are free.
I had never been to the sheep dog trials before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I guessed I’d see lots of sheep, and dogs, and herding. Of course, that is the main event, but there is so much more! If you go on Saturday you can watch the Sheep-To-Shawl competition, which I’m sad that I missed. I’ll have to go back again next year and catch it. The competition is done in teams, starting with fleece, and ending up with woven shawls by the end of the day. Be sure to check it out if you are there tomorrow.
herding in action
There are so many things for kids to do! Face painting, pony rides, a petting zoo, educational programs about birds of prey….
barn owl (no longer found in this area)
Doreen, the woman who taught me to spin
….and even sheep sheering–I had a great time watching this demonstration, and the kids really loved it too!
Bill McMaster demonstrates how sheep sheering can be done without electricity. A volunteer turns the crank, which powers the clippers.
three cheers for kid power!
The clippers move really fast, and take all the fleece off the sheep.
The kids were eager to feel the sheep after it had a haircut.
The fleece was gathered up, and Bill and Hamish demonstrate how to use a drop spindle.
They spun and plied wool, from the grease, and made wool bracelets for all the kids–I got one too! If you have a chance to stop by and talk to these guys, it is worth it! Check their clock for shearing time, and you’ll be in for a real show.
If you are in the market to purchase anything wooly, from dyed roving to finished garments, there’s lots for you to see. My favourite alpaca vendor, Silver Cloud Alpaca, is there selling lots of squishably soft yarn, roving and blended batts.
I couldn’t resist, and didn’t really want to resist purchasing some fiber to spin. It is the very best alpaca fleece I have ever encountered.
They had two alpaca there too! Aren’t they gorgeous?
There were so many sheep dogs, but there were also non-sheep dogs competing in several activities. There was an agility trial obstacle course, and also a dock jumping area run by dockdogs.
taking the leap
Dogs jump off the dock into a big pool to get a toy. Some dogs have great long jumping ability, and others are not quite ready to make the leap. I was experimenting with a new camera mode (new camera is Olympus Stylus Tough 3000)–this one takes high speed rapid succession shots. Pretty cool I think!
All in all, I was surprised at how many people were there today. I imagine that Saturday and Sunday it is even busier. Get there early. The events start at 9AM. Bring a lawn chair, lunch, cash for your emergency yarn purchasing, and be sure to have a hat, sunscreen and lots of water.